Voters in the upcoming election will receive a token of their participation, it has been revealed.
The free gift will mark a particularly turbulent political year, including two major referendums and the National leadership coup amid a global pandemic.
Voting places nationwide will look a little bit different given the current climate, with readily available hand sanitiser, physical distancing protocol and personal pens, chief electoral officer Alicia Wright told The AM Show on Monday.
Each participating New Zealander will receive their own official COVID-19 ballot pen, Wright confirmed, in a bid to reduce the possible transmission of infection from voter to voter.
"This is your year to get your official COVID-19 ballot pen - so if you come into a voting place, we'll give you a pen so that you can vote, and you can take your pen away," she said.
Two million of the pens have been produced so far.
As of Monday, 87 percent - about 3.27 million - of New Zealand's potential voters are on the electoral roll, Wright said. The electoral commission is hoping to see that number rise through their campaign, which is kicking off this week.
Board members particularly want to see an increase in the percentage of enrolled young people. Currently, just 61 percent of New Zealand's young people are on the roll - indicating that 39 percent will not be having their say come September.
Teams of workers and youth advocates will be out in the community, visiting places typically frequented by young people to encourage enrolment, Wright said.
Starting this week, personalised enrolment packs will be sent to New Zealand's 3.27 million enrolled voters to ensure their details are up-to-date. The pack will include information on how to vote, who the candidates and political parties are, when voting is open and where to find local voting places. It will also include an EasyVote card, making voting quicker on the day.
Those who wish to enrol can also do so online, by filling out the digital form at vote.nz.
"We've got some big decisions to make and it's important to be enrolled before you vote and have your voice heard. Over the next few weeks we'll help you get all the information you need to take part," Wright said.
"This year, more than ever, it's important to enrol early so you get information about the election and referendums in the mail along with an EasyVote card, which will make voting faster."
Alongside the election, people can also vote on two significant referendums - whether the End of Life Choice Act 2019 should come into force, and whether the recreational use of cannabis should be legalised.
How to get ready for the election
- check your details are up-to-date via your personalised enrolment pack or online at vote.nz. The pack will be sent to your last registered address. Make sure any changes to your details are updated - this can be done online
- there have been some changes to the boundaries and names of electorates since the last election, so double-check your electorate listed in the pack
- read the information in your pack or online regarding the two referendums to ensure you are informed. Kiwis can vote on whether the End of Life Choice Act 2018 should come into force, and whether the recreational use of cannabis should be legalised
- if you are not enrolled, head to vote.nz and fill out the digital form. Make sure you have your New Zealand driver's licence or passport on hand, or use RealMe verified identity
- enrolment forms can also be obtained by calling Freephone 0800 36 76 56, or texting your name and address to 3676
- when you go to vote (voting is open from September 5 to September 19), bring your EasyVote card with you. If you haven’t got a card or forget it, you can still vote. You don't need to bring ID
- to get more information on the election, including the measures that will be in place for COVID-19, go to vote.nz.